What does it mean to pray? What does prayer truly mean? To pray simply means to ask, but if you study Matthew 6, prayer is more than just asking. God wants to hear your prayers and requests, but I believe He wants more than that. Matthew 6 gives us an in-depth look at prayer. In this chapter, Jesus even gives His disciples a sample prayer.
1. The Privacy of Prayer (v. 5-7)
Prayer is a very personal communication between you and God. Prayer is not to be seen and heard of men; this is not the purpose of prayer. In this chapter, Christ teaches that those who pray for the attention and praise of men have their temporal reward already. We ought to remember that prayer is a quiet, personal time that we get to spend with our Savior.
2. The Purity of Prayer (v. 14, 15)
As Christians, we ought to come clean and guiltless before the throne of God in prayer. We should not have anything in our hearts against anyone.
3. The Procedure of Prayer (v. 9-13)
In this passage, Christ gives us a pattern we can follow in prayer.
- Recognition of the Father—this is true praise and worship. Praise God for who He is. Brag on Him. (v. 9-10)
- Provision/needs—daily bread (v. 11)
- Forgiveness/grace and forgiveness to others (v. 12)
- Deliverance from temptation and evil (v. 13)
- Strength to overcome (v. 13)
- Recognition and glory to God (v. 13)
4. The Promise of Prayer (v. 25-32, 34)
In this chapter, God promises to take care of us. Jesus said, “Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what shall ye put on.” He comforts us by telling us not to worry about these things. He then gives an example of the birds and how God takes care of them and He asks, “Are ye not much better than they?” In verse 27 Jesus asks, can your thoughts or worrying change anything? He then uses another example of the lilies and how they grow by no effort of their own. God takes care of them and provides for their needs. Jesus asks, “Shall He not much more clothe you?” Just as God cares for the birds and the lilies, He promises to care for us and supply our needs.
5. The Plea for Prayer (v. 33)
Prayer means to ask, but God wants more than our requests—He wants our fellowship. In the verses prior to verse thirty-three, Jesus told the disciples that God already knows our needs before we ask him; He then tells them what he wants—“But seek ye first.” God is not a vending machine or a genie in the lamp that you call on only when you need something. He wants us to call on Him, and He does hear our requests, but He desires our fellowship. He wants to hear you pour your heart to Him. “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” (v. 21) He wants to hear about your day and your struggles. Tell Him your goals; tell Him how thankful you are to Him, how much you love Him. He knows this, but just as an earthly father converses with his children, Christ wants to fellowship with us through prayer. God wants you to know Him.
God desires to hear from His children. As your heavenly Father, He wants to hear your requests and your “askings,” but He also wants you to commune with Him. In Matthew 6, Jesus was teaching His disciples not to worry (remember, God already knows our wants and needs before we even ask Him) BUT to seek Him first. God is searching for those who are searching for Him. The Bible says in Colossians 1:16, “All things were created by Him and for Him;” in Revelation 4:11, “Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for Thou hast created all things, and for Thy pleasure they are and were created;” and in Psalms 14:2, “The Lord looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand and seek God.”
What is prayer? Prayer is God wanting to know you (although He already does) and God wanting you to know Him.
Share this post
Bro. Obstaculo grew up in Los Angeles and was saved as a teenager. He moved to the area in 2008 to attend Golden State Baptist College, where he graduated in 2010. He has a heart to see the next generation serve God. He has been working with teens for almost 20 years and has worked full-time as Dorm Supervisor since 2017.